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4 June 2013

International social media award for Cape Town Tourism

Cape Town Tourism has won the CVB (Convention and Visitors Bureau) Global award in the Best Overall Use of Social Media category in Travel + Leisure‘s SMITTY Awards.

Table Mountain overlooking the V&A Waterfront. Table Mountain overlooking the V&A Waterfront

I am very proud of the SMITTY Award and of the team that conceptualised the campaigns that it recognises. – Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold, Cape Town Tourism CEO

The Travel + Leisure Social Media in Travel + Tourism (SMITTY) Awards recognise innovative use of social media in the travel industry.

Cape Town Tourism has been recognised for its e-marketing strategy and the social media and digital marketing campaigns that focused on using locals and Cape Town fans from around the world as the city’s marketers.

Among Cape Town Tourism’s digital and social media milestones are:

  • The creation of a virtual fan park for Cape Town on Facebook. The I ♥ Cape Town Facebook fan page has more than 280 000 fans and has been recognised as one of the top brand Facebook pages in South Africa.
  • Influencers in Travel has rated Cape Town Tourism one of the top 25 most influential tourism boards and destination marketing organisations (DMO) – a result of Cape Town Tourism’s regular tweets and blogs.
  • Cape Town Tourism’s new Cape Town Toolkit offers diverse itineraries, high-quality images, and information about Cape Town. It enables registered users in the travel, tourism and marketing trade to access promotional material and resources.
  • Cape Town and Durban featured prominently across all National Geographic platforms between April 2012 and June 2013 as a result of an integrated marketing campaign that had a strong online focus.
  • Cape Town Tourism was also one of the first DMOs to work with travel bloggers. It hosted four top international traveller bloggers as iAmbassadors in August 2012. These bloggers recounted their experiences on various digital and social media platforms. Cape Town locals were called on to crowd-source ideas and, as the marketers of Cape Town, their engagement resulted in more than 36-million Twitter impressions in three weeks.
  • In 2012, Cape Town Tourism used Facebook as a tool for uncovering Cape Town and its attractions via in interactive travel app called My Cape Town Holiday. The app, launched as a competition, saw Facebook profiles being sent on holiday to Cape Town between October and December 2012, with the offer of the real thing for three lucky winners. The winners were announced in February 2013.

Rich Beattie, executive digital editor of Travel + Leisure, said that while the SMITTY Awards were launched in 2012 to recognise innovation in social media, the competition has also raised the creativity bar for travel companies. 'The increased level of originality really showed in this year’s entries – we saw new ideas on every social media platform. And the addition of travel bloggers has injected the awards with even more energy,' he said.

Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold, Cape Town Tourism CEO, said technology and digital marketing will play an even more significant role as Cape Town shifts its brand position to appeal to the new urban traveller. 'More destinations are turning to social media to promote their services and reach customers in a more intimate, interactive and instant way,' she said.

She added that today’s travellers are doing their travel research on social media. 'If they want to know something, they just put it out to the global community. It’s therefore a space that Cape Town Tourism considers vital to play in, staying close to the conversation as a trusted member of the community,' she explained.

Du Toit-Helmbold also reasoned that widespread adoption of Cape Town Tourism’s hashtag #lovecapetown is symbolic of the shift that communications and marketing has undergone is a very short period. 

'I am very proud of the SMITTY Award and of the team that conceptualised the campaigns that it recognises,' she concluded.

You can tweet your messages to this year’s winners using the hashtag #TLSMITTY.

For more information on Travel + Leisure SMITTY Awards winners, visit http://www.travelandleisure.com/smittys.